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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Parents

I'm not sure what back ground you have, but for me, I am continually reminded of how rare it is to have been brought up without divorce, abuse or neglect. 
I am so unbelievably grateful for the wonderfully warm and caring parents that I have.  They did the very best job they could raising me even though at times I was rude, self centered, rebellious and ungrateful. 
They continued to love me when I was unlovely and most of all, they upheld me in prayer when they faced situations where they didn't know what else to do. 
They have been a continual source of strength and comfort to me as well as amazing examples of not only what it means to be a Christian, but two loving and committed parents.  
Thanks Mum and Dad!

Well with Mother's Day only a couple of weeks away, I thought it fitting to focus on the AMAZING mums (and dads) that we have at ZOE.  
These parents just continue to blow me away!  
How they choose to live their lives as well as what they value and put their time into is truly inspiring.  
Jump on over to the ZOE Children's Home blog where I have written about these superly-fantastic-outstanding parents and see for yourself!

I hope you're having a great week.
Andie:) 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Down Memory Lane... ramblings.



Back in 2007, I officially became a "blogger" over at my lovingmums site.  Obviously at that time, I never imagined that years later I would actually be using this zoeaustralia blog as my main mode of communication to keep in touch with our family and friends back in Australia from here- all the way away in Northern Thailand!


Then in 2009 when a few people began reading my lovingmums blog, I won a little "bloggy" award where one of the conditions of the award was to list seven things about yourself.  I recently stumbled across this old post and I had a little laugh.   BUT it did give me the idea to share again: 7 things that you may not know about me... or maybe you did!  Let me know if you knew them all!!

1. I have been a Christian since I was a child.  My faith challenges me daily to fight against my own selfishness and try to put God above all else.  I benefit so much from the peace, joy and strength that I draw from God and I'm trying harder as the years go on not to get so worried or uptight that people will start asking me deep theological questions that I won't be able to answer. I wish I had answers to all the hard questions. I wish my incredibly small human mind could make sense of the indescribable creator of the universe and that it didn't stretch my faith SO much. But that's not what "faith" is I guess! It's 'the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen'.

2. My first ever job at the tender age of 14 and 9 months was as a salad bar girl at Sizzler. I then went on to have all sorts of jobs including my "claim to fame" -being an extra on shows such as Neighbours and Blue Heelers and my biggest role, being attacked in an episode of Australia's Most Wanted! LOL!

3. Prior to having children my husband and I both decided to get braces on our teeth as adults. It was one of the most embarrassing stages of my life (teaching Grade 6 at the time and 80% of the class also had braces!) BUT one of the best decisions that I ever made. I'm really glad I did it.

4. I have had three c-sections. The first one was an emergency and the other two were planned. I felt a bit let down initially after having an emergency caesarian like I'd failed in the whole 'giving birth' department but then I realised just how blessed I was to have a healthy, thriving baby and I decided not to beat myself up about it any more.

5. We don't have a television!  We have a very small and very old portable dvd player that functions well for our children, but its size alone doesn't encourage a lot of comfortable viewing!  I turned the television off a number of years ago now and I've never looked back. I don't even know what I'm missing anymore!! Weird I know. 



6. I have been working through a fear (distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, pain, etc. whether the threat is real or imagined) of dogs since about Grade 3 when a class mate of mine was attacked.  Nothing has ever happened to me personally so there's no logical reason for this emotion but I'm just saying!


7. I haven’t kept a diary/calendar this whole year.  This is shocking and most unlike me.  I don’t know what is going on with me right now- literally.   Previously I would have thought it impossible to actually survive until April not using one but, there you have it, I have.

So, did you know them all?  Which one, if any, shocked you the most? 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Feelin' Artsy


In Thailand we only have three seasons: hot, rainy-and-hot or VERY hot!  It's currently in the VERY hot part of the year.
It's been sitting on about 38-39 degrees all week. 
What a pity the Songkran water fights are over now.
Or was that just a suggestion?  Dave seems to think so!

Well, while the ZOE kids are still on their summer break, our children are currently off school on their "spring break" after just finishing the "third quarter".  (The international schools follow the American school year).  

And while it's moving in to the second month of the summer holidays, the ZOE kids are enjoying their camp holiday program tremendously (photos to come).
In another part of town, the Cross children are having some holiday activities of their own.

My children love to play "home-school" during the holidays where I am the teacher and they are the students.  We've had fun this week doing lots of artistic drawings and painting as well as reading, counting and (for Spencer) cutting practice.


These activities have enabled the children many opportunities to problem-solve and persist through set-backs and challenges.  



It's so wonderful, for me, to see each of the children developing.  I love being able to celebrate their individual achievements with them.

I love seeing how proud they are when they've accomplished something that they first deemed as being "too hard".

It's been such a joy to listen to Tobi reading longer stories to the younger two and observe his growing vocabulary.  To see Eliana discovering spelling patterns and express so much excitement as she learns to read. And to listen as Spencer clearly articulates the meaning behind his 'art work' (usually something about flames or a fire!!).


The kids have also been learning to memorize some more bible verses and understand more about God's love and plan for them.

One of the highlights this week has been setting up an art display of all our finished work.  This has made the living area look bright and cheerful.  It's also been a great opportunity to sit around and observe each other's work, analyze it, describe it and feel pride in each of the artistic creations.







An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
Edwin Land

It always does me good to be able to identify the challenges and the successes that my children are experiencing.  
It's often when I hear myself telling them, "never give up", "keep practicing" or cheering "you can do it" that I realize that I need to take a bit of my own advice and apply God's word to my own issues more often! 

Never give up... Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up Galatians 6:9 .
Keep practicing... Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me -everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you Phillipians 4:9.
You can do it... I can do all things through Him who gives me strength Phillipians 4:13.

And so I hope as this week draws to a close that you can look back and know that you've given your tasks your best shot and remember in the wise words of Helen Keller,
"l long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble".

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Some Songkran Fun!



Check out this short video of us all out and about on the first official night of Songkran (Thai New Year celebration aka world's biggest water fight).  
So much fun!

Curious Kids

I love it how curious children are.  They're always so inquisitive and interested in the 'why?' and the 'how?'  It's probably part of the reason why they enjoy reading Curious George so much.

Some of the many wonderful memories that I will cherish from my parent's recent visit will be the story-times that my children shared with their grandparents.

One night, my dad had a read-a-thon with the kids going through adventure after adventure in Tobi's 'Curious George' library book while waiting for David to get home from work.

Our house has never been so quiet!


Click on over to the ZOE Children's Home blog to read about how the ZOE children also enjoyed the antics of that mischievous little monkey George recently.


More updates coming shortly!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Flood Gates Have Opened...



Chiangmai has opened its floodgates for another huge Songkran (Thai New Year) celebration.

Beginning 'officially' today, there were already people gathering along the streets with buckets in hand and flinging water as early as yesterday afternoon.

You may remember my posts about this from last year and the year before.

But Songkran is not the only reason we've been getting wet this week. We are so happy to report that it's actually been raining! Whowhoo!

If you're not sure why I sound so excited about this, check out our posts about our desperate need for some rain to clear away the high levels of pollution in the air here as a result of the burning off season.

And thirdly, the flood gates were literally opened as we waved a very teary goodbye to my parents who have been here with us since the end of March.

It has been such a lovely couple of weeks. (Does that explain my absence here? Sorry!)

We do feel really blessed that we've had this time to visit special places and share this precious time but when the final moment came to bid farewell, so too did a flood of another kind caused by having to say goodbye {again}.



I've realized that we all cope with goodbyes differently.

For Eliana and I, crying hysterically whilst walking through the airport with no concern for who even stares at us helps us get it all out in the open ... Spencer thoughtfully summed it up in the car on the way home from the airport well by saying, "Now our family is back to just 5" and Tobi at bed time whispered to me softly, "Mum, I know you really miss your mum and dad. It's hard to always say goodbye... but I'm glad I still have you".

And the good news... the next thing to look forward to and begin counting down the days...

It's only 70 days until we're back in Australia! Yippeee!

Do you have a school, church, club or group that would like to hear more about what we do here in Thailand?

We are happy to talk about our experiences of being missionaries in a foreign country, as well as our passion relating to helping children in need.
ZOE Children's Home, where we are volunteers, proactively fight to abolish human trafficking as well as provide a safe refuge for the children that we rescue.

Combining multimedia, personal stories and an opportunity for  audiences to ask questions, we share about human trafficking, our journey of challenges, answered prayers and adventure.

For more information please check out http://sites.google.com/site/backforachat
There are printable brochures, biographies and a range of speaking options.

Please stay tuned for some more posts really soon {promise} as I begin to catch up after the past couple of weeks.